Nerys Myk wrote:
Granted, Roddenberry originally wanted a female XO, but that was turned down by the network execs as too radical.
Nah, they objected to Roddenberry casting his mistress in the part. If he had recast rather than eliminating the character, there would have been a female XO in the show.
That's right. The truth as I understand it went like this:
- Gene gave a plum co-starring role to one of the women he was cheating on his wife with, Majel, who wasn't very good on screen.
- NBC execs liked the idea of putting a woman in such a prominent spot, but said a better or more charismatic actress would be needed.
- Gene lied to Majel to spare her feelings, saying that NBC wouldn't allow a woman to hold a high rank.
- In order to keep up that pretense, Gene had to nix the idea of a female executive officer. This ended up being very good luck for Leonard Nimoy-- and searingly bad for gender equality in STAR TREK going forward.
- Gene's lie to Majel, which had to be preserved for the sake of their relationship, took on a life of its own, becoming a well-publicized and self-aggrandizing story of Roddenberry fighting the male chauvinist pigs at NBC as much as he could, but just not winning. The actual executives, who had been all in favor of a strong female co-star on STAR TREK, felt slandered by this, but they apparently never tried to make their case publicly. The fan community just wasn't high enough on their radar, I'd guess.